Duke Bernhard III of Saxe-Meiningen, Duke Georg II of Saxe-Meiningen, Hereditary Prince Georg of Saxe-Meiningen, King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia, King Willem I of the Netherlands, Prince Albert of Prussia, Princess Charlotte of Prussia, Princess Feodora of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
Princess Charlotte of Prussia (June 21, 1831 – 30 March 30, 1855) was by birth a Princess of Prussia and member of the House of Hohenzollern. By marriage she became Hereditary Princess of Saxe-Meiningen.
She was the daughter of Prince Albrecht of Prussia and his wife and first cousin Princess Marianne of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau who was the youngest child of King Willem I of the Netherlands and Princess Wilhelmine of Prussia. Princess Wilhelmine was the fourth child of eight born to King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia and Princess Frederica Louisa of Hesse-Darmstadt.
Princess Charlotte of Prussia
Prince Albrecht of Prussia the fifth son and youngest child of King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia and Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Two of Prince Albrecht’s elder brothers were King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia from 1840 till 1861, and King Wilhelm I of Prussia from 1861 to 1888 and German Emperor from 1871 until 1888.
This meant Princess Charlotte of Prussia was the granddaughter of both King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia and King Willem I of the Netherlands.
Her parents’ marriage was unhappy due to Prince Albrecht’s several affairs, and finally was dissolved on March 28, 1849 after which Princess Marianne began to live with her former coachman Johannes van Rossum, with whom she had a son, Johannes Wilhelm of Reinhartshausen.
The custody of Charlotte and her two surviving siblings Albrecht and Alexandrine was given to their father; however, their childless aunt Queen Elisabeth Ludovika of Prussia took care of them, moreover after Prince Albrecht’s second and morganatic marriage in 1853 with Rosalie von Rauch, who bore him two sons, Count William and Count Frederick of Hohenau.
As a young woman, Charlotte was highly eligible, due to her Dutch fortune and Hohenzollern connections. In Charlottenburg on May 18, 1850, the nineteen-year-old princess married Georg, Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Meiningen, who was twenty-four years old.
The Hereditary Prince was the only son of Bernhard II, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen and Princess Marie of Hesse-Cassel. Hereditary Prince Georg had led a battalion from Meiningen in support of the Prussians in the First Schleswig War in 1849.
After resuming his military career in Berlin, Georg soon became engaged to Charlotte, whose position as a niece of King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia surely recommended her to him.
It was a love match and their marriage occurred after a short engagement. Among the wedding gifts was an opulent old villa on Lake Como from her mother Marianne, as well as a substantial collection of paintings and sculptures.
It was renamed the Villa Carlotta in the bride’s honour. Due to their Prussian connections, the couple spent the next five years in Berlin and Potsdam but returned to Meiningen for the birth of their children.
The two shared many interests, particularly with the theatre, as they were both ardent attendees; during their engagement, they had even acted in amateur court theatricals together.
Charlotte had a talent for music, and was taught by the likes of Wilhelm Taubert, Theodor Kullak and Julius Stern in her youth. She wrote a number of military marches, songs and piano pieces. Her daughter, Princess Marie Elisabeth, would inherit these interests.
On January 27, 1855, their second son, Georg died. Charlotte followed him two months later, dying of childbirth complications on March 30 at the age of twenty-three.
Georg’s second wife Princess Feodora of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, c. 1860. Portrait by Franz Xaver Winterhalter
Georg was inconsolable, but would eventually remarry to Princess Feodora of Hohenlohe-Langenburg in order to provide a mother to his remaining children. He succeeded his father as Duke Georg II of Saxe-Meiningen in 1866, ten years after Charlotte’s death.
Duke Georg II of Saxe-Meiningen’s second wife, Princess Feodora of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, was a daughter of Ernst I, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg and Princess Feodora of Leiningen, the youngest of six children. Her mother, Princess Feodora of Leiningen,
was an older half-sister to Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, thus making the younger Feodora a niece of the Queen.
Princess Charlotte of Prussia and her husband, the then Hereditary Prince Georg of Saxe-Meiningen, had four children. The eldest was Bernhard III, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen who married his second cousin, another Princess Charlotte of Prussia, daughter of German Emperor Friedrich III and Victoria, Princess Royal of the United Kingdom and she was both a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and German Emperor Wilhelm I.